Additional Information about the Arts, Design, and the Rural Economy

Emoting with Their Feet: Bohemian Attraction to Creative Milieu

In this 2007 article published in the Journal of Economic Geography, Timothy R. Wojan, Dayton M. Lambert, and David A. McGranahan report evidence that an unobserved creative milieu that attracts artists increases local economic dynamism. Notably, the authors identify a significant number of rural counties with high arts employment shares, making their findings more compelling.

The Emergence of Rural Artistic Havens: A First Look

Also in 2007, and published in Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Wojan, Lambert, and McGranahan documented the emergence of “rural artistic havens” and identify county characteristics associated with the attraction of performing, fine, and applied artists.

The Rural Growth Trifecta: Outdoor Amenities, Creative Class and Entrepreneurial Context

As reported in a separate Journal of Economic Geography article published in 2011, McGranahan, Wojan, and Lambert found that the share of the workforce employed in the creative class is strongly associated with growth in the number of new establishments and employment, particularly in those rural counties endowed with attractive outdoor amenities.

Measuring Design and Its Role in Innovation

Authored by Fernando Galindo-Rueda and Valentine Millot, this OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) paper discusses efforts to improve the measurement of technological and non-technological forms of business innovation, with particular focus on the role of design. This report illustrates a number of findings arising from the first-time use of a set of experimental questions on design implementing a “ladder-type” model of design which describes levels of sophistication and integration of the design function within the firm.

What is Rural?

In this web tool and document, the Economic Research Service (ERS) explains commonly used definitions of “urban” and “rural.” In particular, definitions based on the Office of Management and Budget’s concept of “metropolitan,” as well as the Census Bureau’s descriptions of urban and rural territories, are featured.

Micropolitan America: A New and Critical Part of the Nation’s Geography

Authored by Sam M. Cordes and J. Matthew Fannin, and published by RUPRI, this policy brief discusses the emergence of “micropolitan” areas as an important geographic concept in studying factors that drive and influence rural places.

Rural Wealth Creation: Concepts, Strategies, and Measures

Authored by John Pender, Alexander Marré, and Richard Reeder (each with the USDA’s Economic Research Service), this 2012 report presents a conceptual framework for rural wealth creation, drawing upon the U.S. and international development literature. The framework emphasizes the importance of multiple types of assets (physical, financial, human, intellectual, natural, social, political, and cultural capital) and the economic, institutional, and policy context in which rural wealth strategies are devised.

Rural America at a Glance

Rural America at a Glance, produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS), summarizes recent trends in rural America focusing on developments in the labor market, patterns of population change, and poverty trends. The most recent edition, released in November 2016, also contains a section describing rural median household income by county dependency (i.e., the industry that most supports a rural county’s economy). Notably, ERS reports, incomes were highest in rural counties classified as “recreation dependent.”

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America

Produced by ERS’ John Cromartie and Timothy Parker, this interactive mapping product features demographic, employment, and classification data for U.S. counties. Users have access to mapping features and downloadable data. ERS’ Atlas of Rural and Small Town America was revised in July 2017.

Updated ERS County Economic Types Show a Changing Rural Landscape

Published in the ERS’ Amber Waves, this article, written by Timothy Parker, explains ERS’ economic typology codes, which classify and characterize the economic base of U.S. counties. As Parker writes, counties near national or State parks, rich in natural amenities, or those that have other recreational attractions have often been the fastest growing nonmetropolitan counties.

Valuing the Art of Industrial Design

This 2013 report explores industrial design, both as an occupation and as an industry tied to U.S. manufacturing and other sectors. Drawing on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, the report highlights the number of working industrial designers and their earnings, the industries employing the greatest numbers of designers, and their geographic concentration in western and mid-western states. The report also uses data published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to show the wide variety of products incorporating industrial design, as well as the leading companies awarded design patents.